First exams for Seychellois citizenship scheduled for May
Seychelles Department of Internal Affairs (Rassin Vannier, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - An examination paper to be sat by applicants aspiring to be citizens of the Seychelles is being finalised, Principal Secretary for the Indian Ocean island nation’s Immigration and Civil Status Department, Charles Bastienne told the SNA today.
“It includes questions that will seek to assess the applicants’ knowledge of our country’s history and of the Constitution,” said Bastienne who also chairs a new Citizenship Eligibility Committee.
The five member committee has been appointed for a three year period to assess the suitability of, and appropriately recommend non-Seychellois applicants who want to become Seychelles citizens.
The examination is part of new measures introduced following the amendment of the Seychelles’ Citizenship Act aimed at better vetting aspiring citizens.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2013 came into force on November 22, 2013.
Bastienne told SNA that no new applications for citizenship have been processed since that time, but the first applicants are likely to sit the exam in May.
In his State of the Nation Address in February 2013, Seychelles President James Michel stressed the need to protect the country’s unique heritage and by that Seychellois citizenship.
“Getting married to a Seychellois will not suffice. The duration of residence alone will not suffice. A foreigner who wishes to become a citizen of Seychelles needs to deserve Seychelles! The foreigner will need to know, understand and appreciate Seychelles, its constitution, its people, its history, its culture, aspirations and heritage! The person will need to be loyal and sincere to Seychelles,” said Michel in 2013.
The new regulations also make provisions for a system of permanent residency permits for foreigners who contributed to the country’s development but do not qualify for citizenship.
“They will not enjoy the same rights as Seychellois. They will not, for example, benefit from social security and pension. They will not vote. But they will have the right to reside here, work, invest and engage in business activities that are not reserved for Seychellois,” said Michel.
Bastienne has told SNA today that the new opportunity for foreigners to live, work or do business in Seychelles permanently without enjoying the same rights as citizens, has got overwhelming response, and applicants for relevant permits will be also be interviewed soon.
The Seychelles islands has a population of 90,000 people, who are a Creole nation made up of descendants of French, British, African, Indian and Chinese settlers. The islands were uninhabited prior to their discovery, the first discovery was in 1502 by Portuguese explorer, Vasco Da Gama.